Saturday 19 October 2019

Many Jews feel they cannot identify as Jews safely in public: survey

Davidster (star of David) monument in The Hague

The Davidster monument by Dick Stins, in The Hague’s Marktstraat

Many Dutch Jews are wary about showing their Jewish identity openly, a survey by current affairs programme EenVandaag shows.

Almost half (47%) of the 557 participants said they did not feel they could identify as Jewish openly and freely in the Netherlands, 43% adapted their clothing or did not wear a yarmulke, or skullcap, in public places.

Almost half the participants said they had avoided situations because of potential abuse and a third had been called names. One in 10 had experienced actual violence.

Hannah Luden, director of the Israel information and documentation centre Cidi said the percentage is lower than expected based on her own information. Jews are increasingly unwilling to discuss their faith or background in public, ‘including in offices of the Amsterdam local council, the University of Amsterdam and the VU Universiteit,’ Luden told the Parool.

The proliferation of social media is an important contributor to the feeling of insecurity among Jews, the paper writes. Over four in five of the participants had come across anti-Jewish comments on the internet. ‘On social media the limits of decency are easily and anonymously overstepped. But we see this reflected in the real world as well,’ Luden said.

Luden cites a recent NOS item in which Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros was described as ‘an influential busybody whose tentacles are reaching far into world politics’ and ‘the Jew’.  ‘People no longer have any understanding of what is acceptable and not,’ the paper quotes Luden as saying.

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